To address the growing need for scalable and effective health technologies, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), an early-stage program for science and tech-based startups, is launching CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness, its second program based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness will work with massively scalable, seed-stage startups developing new products and services in medical technology, digital health, healthcare delivery, and mental and physical wellness. 

Advances in science and technology offer powerful opportunities to improve the physical and mental wellness of people around the world. Positioning CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness at UW-Madison leverages the region’s strengths in healthcare, innovation, scientific research, and technology transfer. The program is a partnership between UW–Madison’s School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, the Wisconsin School of Business, and faculty at the Center for Healthy Minds.

“Entrepreneurship is a critical ingredient to enable new innovations to reach the people who would most benefit,” said Richard Davidson, the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, director of the Center for Healthy Minds and president of the affiliated nonprofit Healthy Minds Innovations. “We’re seeing this with the pandemic and the massive acceleration to telehealth and other technologies. We’re enthusiastic about working with CDL to both share insights from our experts and to learn from the entrepreneurs and business mentors who are building the next generation of high-impact health and wellness tech companies.” 

CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness will support commercially-driven ventures focused on innovations in medical imaging and devices, diagnostics, telehealth and remote monitoring, machine intelligence in healthcare, preventive and personalized healthcare, mobile medical applications, enterprise healthcare software, health insurance, and new business models in healthcare delivery, among others. While the new initiative is based at UW-Madison, CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness will recruit founders and start-ups nationally and internationally.

Ventures selected for the program will participate in an annual nine-month program and receive mentorship from successful health and wellness entrepreneurs as well as industry leaders and scientists from UW–Madison and elsewhere. Participants will have the opportunity to raise capital from angel investors and venture capital firms, and work hand-in-hand with senior undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in technology entrepreneurship.

Madison, Wisconsin based HealthX Ventures, a leading Midwest digital healthcare-focused venture capital firm, will be a CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness contributing partner. 

“We are excited to partner with CDL and the University of Wisconsin–Madison to help bring this program to life,” said Mark Bakken, managing director of HealthX Ventures. “Wisconsin is a hotbed for innovation in healthcare, and this program offers valuable support to the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as a powerful attraction for the best founders and investors from around the world. The pool of health mentors and scientific talent the CDL team is assembling is impressive, and we are glad to be a part of it.”

Bakken, a successful and experienced entrepreneur, will be a CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness mentor. Other confirmed mentors include Davidson, known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain; Greg Tracy, chief architect at ResMed and former co-founder and CTO at Propeller Health; Fred Robertson, venture partner at Baird Capital and retired CEO and director of TomoTherapy; Tom Tefft, former executive at Medtronic; and John Neis, executive managing director of Venture Investors has extensive experience as a director of many successful portfolio companies. 

Program participants will also benefit from cross-collaboration with mentors and ventures in CDL-Wisconsin Risk which launched in July 2020 with American Family Insurance as founding partner. CDL-Wisconsin Risk has already become a leading global program for ventures and mentors in the areas of risk management and insurance. 

“Building on the success of the CDL-Wisconsin Risk launched last year, CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness is similarly focused on helping new companies with the potential to enhance resilience in society,” says Tom Erickson, founding director of the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences at UW-Madison. “Growing levels of complexity, insecurity, and vulnerability in our everyday lives have made physical and mental resilience critically important. The Health & Wellness program will recruit similarly exceptional founders and mentors, this time with an emphasis on innovation in healthcare to enhance physical and mental well-being.”

Applications for CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness are now open. Learn more and apply by visiting:

Selected ventures will start the nine-month program in October 2021. 

Questions can be sent to:

About CDL-Wisconsin Health & Wellness Partners

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success. Founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, the program has expanded to ten sites across four countries: Oxford (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Paris (HEC Paris), Atlanta (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology), Madison (Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Seattle (University of Washington, Foster School of Business), Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Montreal (HEC Montréal), Calgary (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary), and Halifax (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University)

University of Wisconsin–Madison 

School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences

Wisconsin School of Business 

Center for Healthy Minds and Healthy Minds Innovations 

UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

Media Contact
Amarpreet Kaur
Associate Director, Creative Destruction Lab